Sunday, June 22, 2008

Multi-Tasking Hell (by Gayle)

My mother may have walked three miles to school, carrying her lunch in a bucket, past a band a gypsies fearing kidnap (I know that’s not PC, but in the 1920’s she was really afraid of gypsies), but I swear I’m more stressed than she was. She had to go to a well to get water (or maybe that was Jack and Jill), but I do know the only “...washers” they had at home were their bare hands and I still think I’m more stressed than she was. Sometimes they caught “crawdads” for dinner in the rain-fed creek behind her house. She started school a month late each year so she could help the family pick the final cotton crop of the year, and yet I’m sure I’m more stressed than she was. Her adrenal glands went into high gear as she approached the gypsy camp, mine pump like that when I’m in multi-tasking hell. Thanks to email, voice mail, text messages, cell phones, traffic, the news, travel, and technology (especially when it breaks) it's not hard for any of us to go into adrenaline overdrive. (I have more to say about the effects of stress on my website.)

Poor stress and time management (read as crappy self-care) kill marriages and people. They killed my father at the age of 54. Blood pressure pills, statins, and an aspirin a day might have extended his life. However, my hunch is that medication would have only given dad more days on the planet to take really lousy care of himself. (If you really want to get really stressed - read about General Adaptation Syndrome.)

One of the things my marriage has taught me is that the degree to which I take care of myself has a direct impact on Ron. Some might call it co-dependence. I think it’s reality. When being truly present in my marriage stops being one of my multiple tasks, I put Ron, my marriage, and myself in jeopardy. If you want your relationship to work better, you better know when to stop working.

"Be here now."
~Ram Dass

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